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Great premise, but poor execution —an extremely underwhelming book. The author shares a lot of generic and basic business advice, and fails to meaningfully link any of it back to the idea of resisting growth and staying small. The basis for advice is seemingly random and shallow references to other thought-leaders or fairly recent business books, together with observations from the authors own web design consultancy. All in all, a horribly myopic approach. The book is also extremely repetitive, the author literally, and seemingly accidentally, uses the same sentence multiple times and keeps hammering the same pedestrian points throughout. It’s crying out for a decent editor. Overall, a big missed opportunity.
This book doesn't seem to know what it wants to be; a guide finding the courage to leave your current job, or a guide to what to do once you have left.
As a long-time company of one, this book didn't give me anything new whatsoever, and no real concrete advice I could use. Midway through I felt sure it wasn't going to provide, but I finished it anyway.
It's a valiant attempt, but more hype than substance.
Save yourself the time and get the value you need on a forum like Indie Hackers instead.
The companies that Jarvis is discussing in this book aren't necessarily companies consisting of one person, he has just used that as an umbrella term for companies that choose to stay small, keep overheads to a minimum, work smarter rather than harder, and not chase unsustainable growth. But it can also apply within large organisations; it's a mindset apparently. It's a clunky conceit that doesn't really work. Lean might have been a better way of describing these entities if the term hadn't been loaded with meaning by previous authors.
The book is not badly written and Jarvis refers to lots of real world examples to back up his points but those points are the same ones recapitulated for 220 pages. This isn't an instruction manual for doing more with less. There are some allusions to the ideas in Eric Ries' The Lean Startup but I found this book too obvious and lacking in any new insight.
The benefit of this book is that it gives you permission to embrace the notion of "company of one." I think hearing a 15 min interview on the topic by the author is more valuable than reading this. For example, I don't need to hear for the 100th time about Google's policy of allowing employees time to work on pet projects (something mentioned on two occasions in the first part of the book).